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autarchythe practice or policy of economic self-sufficiency
self-sufficiency, self-satisfaction; in the economic sense, the creation of a closed, self-sufficient economy in a separate capitalist country, leading to a break in traditional international economic ties.
In a pure form, autarky existed only in precapitalistic formations in a natural economy. Autarky as a policy is in conflict with the demands of the international division of labor. Under imperialism, when all countries are closely connected by a system of international economic relations, there are only tendencies toward autarky, arising as a result of the intensification of the contradictions of capitalism. These tendencies were most powerful during the 1930’s when, as a result of the world economic crisis of 1929–33, a break occurred in the previously existing foreign trade and other economic relationships, and countries conducted a policy of “ruining their neighbor.” In the most aggressive imperialistic countries autarky began to serve the aims of creating a relatively closed economy capable of producing all that was necessary for conducting a war under the conditions of economic blockade. Autarky was the official economic theory of Fascism. After World War II autarkic tendencies—for instance, high obstructive duties—are to some degree inherent in several closed trade economic blocs such as the European Economic Association and the European Association for Free Trade.
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